McIlroy finishes like a champion

Red-hot Rory McIlroy birdied six of the last 10 holes to finish his Masters debut on a massive high.

The Ulster teen birdied the ninth to turn in three over par after some early problems before scorching home in a sensational 31 blows for a 70 that left him inside the top 30 on two-under.

He said: "It was a lovely way to end the week. Six under for the last ten holes was pretty nice. I needed it as I didn’t get off to the best of starts. It was a nice way to end the week."

McIlroy bogeyed the third and seventh and double bogeyed the par-three sixth after taking to chips to get on the green.

But he played like a future Masters champion after that and was left to regret trying to be a hero after dropping five shots late over the last three holes on Friday.

"If I could have finished on Friday the way I did today I would still be out there," he said, referrring to his four putt at the 16th and triple bogey finish.

"I hit a couple of bad putts and then on 18 I was probably trying to be a little cute from the bunker. I should have taken my medicine but I was trying to be a hero.

"It is all part of the learning curve. I have hopefully got a lot more Masters to play and if I get in that position again I will hopefully know what to do.

"Overall I haven’t played as well as I would have wanted but it is a pretty respectable finish. It has been a great week."

"From being here the first time, playing pretty well it has been a good first Masters for me but I was hoping to do a little better and hopefully I can do better in the final three Majors of the year.

"I have got to know the course so much better and when I come back next year I will know it and know the influences on the greens. Every year you learn a little more about the course."

Asked what he had learnt during the week in the light of Friday's bunker shot investigation, he joked: "I have learnt not to dance in the bunker…It has been a great week and I am looking forward to next year.

"It helps to know the course but I felt if I played anywhere near how I could I would still be out there. If you play well enough, experience counts when you are in contention as you know what to expect but if I had been playing my best I would still be out there contending to win this tournament."